Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life: Why are we holding back?

(7.33) In the past, I have accumulated
Countless non-virtuous actions,
Even just one of which can cause me
To experience many aeons of suffering,

(7.34) But, because of my laziness,
I have not purified any of these evils
And so I remain as an abode of infinite suffering.
Why does my heart not crack open with fear?

(7.35) I need to attain the good qualities of a Bodhisattva
For the sake of myself and others,
But it might take me many aeons
To accomplish just one of these.

(7.36) Up to now, I have not familiarized myself
With even a fraction of these good qualities.
How tragic it would be if I were now to waste
This rare and precious rebirth on meaningless pursuits!

Let us make this life one that is different from the rest, different from the ones that we have had until now.  Let us make a heartfelt decision to actually follow now the spiritual path of a Bodhisattva.  Why are we holding back?  What do we have to fear?  We have so many bad seeds in our mind just waiting to ripen and we could lose this opportunity.  We do not know what karma we have created.  Anything can happen.  We could get caught by some doubt, it carries us away and we lose everything.  We do know that we right now have an opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the Dharma, virtue, and creating new habits. 

If we check, rather than familiarizing ourself with virtue, we tend to give in to our selfish wishes, don’t we?  Every day, we give in to our selfish wishes. We are often more concerned with fulfilling our selfish wishes than we are with making spiritual progress. Our self-cherishing is an evil spirit, really, such an evil spirit.  We need to check and see what kind of being we are:  are we an ordinary small being, a special small being, a middling being, or a great being. 

I believe Venerable Geshe-la is empowering us to achieve quite extraordinary results, for ourselves and for others. We can accomplish internal results as well as external results. He is empowering us.  He has given us everything, indeed made it easier for us than any other generation that came before us.  The question we have to ask ourselves is what do we do with it?  We have everything we need, except one thing – the aspiration to do it.  If we cultivate the aspiration, we will then have everything and it is guaranteed we will accomplish great results.  Let us not look back later on in our life and ask ourselves, what could we have done? What could I have done in my life?  Rather, let us look back and see all that we did.  Our spiritual guide knows what we can achieve. How sad, how tragic really, it would be if we show up at the end of our life and realized all that we could have done, but didn’t.  Imagine the regret to realize we had the potential to achieve all of these things, but we never generated a strong enough wish or aspiration.  How tragic that would be.

(7.37) Do I have faith and respect in Buddha?
Have I practised his teachings, the Dharma?
Do I rely upon the supreme spiritual friends, the Sangha?
Have I fulfilled the wishes of the poor and needy?

(7.38) Do I give help to those in danger
Or relief to those who are suffering?
No! All I have done is experience the discomforts
Of being in my mother’s womb, and all the subsequent sufferings.

What distinguishes the Hinayana from the Mahayana path is the mind if superior intention.  Superior intention says it is not enough to just wish living beings were free from suffering, we need to assume personal responsibility to free them from their suffering.  There are two fundamental reasons why we need to assume personal responsibility.  First, according to the method teachings, because we have equalized and exchanged self with others, and so there is nothing about our suffering that makes it any more important than their suffering and there is nothing about their suffering that makes it any less important than our own.  Indeed, when we have completed the exchange of self with others, we cherish only others as if they were ourself.  Second, according to the wisdom teachings, since everything is equally empty, all living beings are equally mere projections or creations of our mind.  The beings we see are part of our karma dream – we created them.  Surely we are responsible for everything we create and everything taking place in our own dream.  We should care for all of creation, not because it is God’s creation, but because it is our own.  We should cherish all living beings and assume personal responsibility for their welfare in the same way a good God would.

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